Monday, October 22, 2007

Effort In Eliminating The Death Penalty In Africa

Edmary Mpagi served 18 years on death row in Uganda for the murder of a man who in fact was alive. In July 2000, Mr. Mpagi was finally free after enough evidence was found to prove his innocence. 

“It was 18 years and three months that I spent in there,” Mr. Mpagi said. “There wasn't one day I didn't think I was going to die. Others should not go through what I went through - the guilty ones or the other innocent ones like me.”

Now that Mr. Mpagi is out of jail, he spends much of his time on a campaign against government-sponsored killing. 

Even though opponents of capital punishment, like Mr. Mpagi, face obstacles such as religion, politicians, and citizens who are fed up with criminals. Their effort in trying to eradicate the death penalty in Africa is making headway. For example, eighteen years ago only one country in Africa, the island of Cape Verde, did not practice capital punishment. Today, according to Amnesty International, 13 African countries have now abolished the death penalty for all crimes. However, 20 countries retain the death penalty but are no longer carrying out executions and 20 countries retain and use the death penalty.

Those who are advocates of death penalty in Africa say, what about “those who dare to take the life of another, violate a woman or commit a crime while wielding a gun ought to pay with their lives.” Mr. Mpagi’s asks, “What about false prosecutions. What about cruel and unusual punishment? What about evidence that suggests that having a death penalty does not deter people from killing, raping or robbing?” 

What do you think about the death penalty? Will the death penalty ever be eliminated in America?


aditi said...

The very controversial issue of the death penalty has been brought to the forefront on many occasions. It has been met with passionate support and just as strong opposition. The death penalty serves as a punishment for murders. However, by executing someone, are we not ourselves becoming that very person we chose to execute. A life is a life. Who, as humans, are we to decide who has the right to live and who does not? Sentence the criminal to life imprisonment. It is cheaper, and I believe a harsher punishment. Not only is the death penalty handed more frequently to people of color, it is also sometimes given to innocent people, as shown in the article. For all these reasons and more, the death penalty should be eliminated. Will in ever be eliminated? That depends on the government. However, the government is representative of its people. If people put enough pressure and raise awareness as to the horrors of the death penalty, in due course we can reach a stage where the death penalty will no longer be used as a form of punishment.

Caitlin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caitlin said...

I feel somewhat torn on the issue of the death penalty. I believe that killing another human being is wrong and never justified; that having been said, terrible crimes are arguably committed by horrible, cruel, or even evil people. Those who commit horrifying crimes such as murder perhaps do deserve to die, or, do not deserve to live. The answer may lie in holding this group of people in prison for life. A person spending the rest of their life in prison arguable does not have a life, does not have freedoms, and may as well be dead to the outside world. As far as the death penalty in America, I feel that it may be eliminated in the future, but it is impossible to tell. All of the terrible acts that are committed around the world everyday could either be used as an argument against the death penalty, or as a strong position in favor of it.

Lusmaia212 said...

Overall this is a very difficult subject to have a dichotomous opinion. Losing a loved one in the hands of another places emotional peal to the situation, which can make you completely for the death penalty. On the other hand when there is a lack of trust that the government is providing justice is where the problem lies. Like Aditi said there is an overwhelming amount of innocent people who are placed in the death penalty. How are we to hand over the power to our government to take away lives if they are not taking the guilty ones? The justice system has to prove they are eligible to hinder from committing more fatal mistakes.

Kiki L. said...

I think it is extremely feasible for African countries to continue abolishing the death penalty and eventually rid the continent of this practice completely. Although the death penalty is legal and used consistently in the United States, less than a third of the countries in the world use it. It is not accepted in other places like it is in our country and it is important to remember that is NOT the global norm. During the year 2006, 91% of executions occurred in China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, and the United States. It is quite ironic that these other countries could also serve as a list of where some of the largest human rights violations are currently happening in the world.

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